Barth Smelting Corp
The site is located in a mixed residential/industrial neighborhood within the Ironbound Section of Newark, New Jersey, and includes the historic footprint of the former Barth smelting facility and the extent of lead-contaminated soil adjacent to the former facility, including areas on the Millard E. Terrell Homes property (Terrell Homes). Terrell Homes is a residential multi-family public housing complex owned by the Newark Housing Authority.
Barth Smelting Corp. operated a smelting facility on the 99 Chapel Street property from at least 1946 until the late 1970s. Barth operated as a smelter and produced brass and bronze ingots. Prior operators at the 99 Chapel Street property include General Lead Batteries, a manufacturer of lead acid batteries, and the New Jersey Zinc Company, a former zinc smelter. The New Jersey Zinc and Iron Company, also known as the Newark Zinc Works, formerly operated their large facility on the 99 Chapel Street property, as well as the property now occupied by the Newark Housing Authority’s Terrell Homes. The Zinc Works was one of the first commercial zinc oxide plants in the United States and operated on this location from 1848 to 1910. After New Jersey Zinc Company ceased operations, the buildings were demolished and the property subdivided. In 1946, the Millard E. Terrell Homes, a family development with 275 units, was constructed on a portion of the property formerly occupied by the New Jersey Zinc & Iron Company.
Initial soil samples were collected from the playground area at the Terrell Homes property in December 2012. Elevated concentrations of lead were found in the top two feet of soil throughout the playground area. In response to the high levels of lead, Newark Housing Authority removed the playground equipment on February to discourage children from accessing the area. The EPA installed a temporary chain link fence around the former playground to restrict access to the lead contaminated soil.
EPA collected soil samples from unpaved areas throughout the Terrell Homes in March 2013 to determine if historic operations conducted on this property and the neighboring property had impacted the soil. The soil sampling results received in May 2013 indicated that two locations near the community building of Terrell Homes had levels of lead present in surface soil that significantly exceeded the EPA residential soil screening level of 400 parts per million. In May 2013, the EPA installed a temporary chain link fence to restrict access to the contaminated areas until more permanent measures could be taken.
Additional soil samples were collected from the grassy area behind the community building in mid-May and along the property line in August, 2013 to determine the extent of contamination. Elevated levels of lead were present in the top two feet of soil extending from the property line to approximately 25-30 feet onto the Terrell Homes property behind the community building.
Cleanup activities began at the site in December 2013 with the removal of trees, shrubs and fencing as necessary for the removal of contaminated soil. Next, the excavation of lead-contaminated soil to a depth of one foot in the unpaved play areas along the northern boundary of the Terrell Homes property was completed and the excavated area was backfilled with clean fill material. Soil was excavated up to the fence line separating the Terrell Homes property from 99 Chapel Street. Erosion controls were put in place to prevent lead-contaminated soil present on the 99 Chapel Street property from moving onto unpaved areas of Terrell Homes.
Final restoration work is planned for the week of September 15, 2014 and will include placing up to six inches of top soil across all excavation areas, planting grass seed, and planting trees and shrubbery. The EPA will also schedule a public information session in early September to update community members about the work.